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Ex-MLB slugger Ryon Healy signs with KBO's Eagles

All News 11:05 December 06, 2020

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, Dec. 6 (Yonhap) -- Former major league slugger Ryon Healy has landed in South Korea.

The Hanwha Eagles of the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) announced Sunday they have signed Healy to a one-year deal worth up to US$1 million. Healy will receive a guaranteed salary of $500,000 and a signing bonus of $300,000. He can make up to $200,000 in incentives.

The 28-year-old infielder has played in 405 major league games for three clubs since 2016. He was a third round pick by the Oakland Athletics at the 2013 draft and made his big league debut with the club three years later.

In this EPA file photo from March 21, 2019, Ryon Healy of the Seattle Mariners rounds the bases after hitting a two-run home run against the Oakland Athletics in the top of the second inning of a Major League Baseball regular season game at Tokyo Dome in Tokyo. (Yonhap)

After launching 13 homers in 72 games as a rookie, Healy exploded for 25 home runs and 78 RBIs in 149 games in 2017, tying for the second-most dingers on the Athletics. He was traded to the Seattle Mariners in November 2017 and then blasted 24 home runs, along with 73 RBIs, in 133 games for the new club in 2018.

Assorted injuries limited Healy to only seven home runs in 47 games in 2019, and he was released after the season.

Later that year, Healy signed a one-year contract with the Milwaukee Brewers but appeared only in four games in 2020.

For his big league career, Healy has a .261/.298/.450 line with 69 home runs and 214 RBIs.

The Eagles said they liked both Healy's power and his underlying contact numbers. In their press release, the Eagles cited Healy's batted ball data from Baseball Savant, Major League Baseball's official site for advanced batting and pitching numbers.

Healy's career zone contact rate, or the percentage of times a batter makes contact with pitches in the strike zone, came to 86 percent, above the major league average of 82.8 percent. And Healy's career hard-hit rate, or the percentage of balls hit with an exit velocity of at least 95 mph, came to 40.7 percent, compared with the MLB average of 34.9 percent.

"He combines power with contact ability," the Eagles said. "We expect him to add much-needed power to our lineup."

Healy has played both first base and third base in the majors, and is mostly expected to handle first base with the Eagles.

KBO teams are each permitted three foreign players, with no more than two pitchers, and the Eagles have filled their quota for 2021. Prior to signing Healy, they acquired pitchers Nick Kingham and Ryan Carpenter.

In this Getty Images file photo from April 18, 2019, Ryon Healy of the Seattle Mariners reacts to throwing out David Fletcher of the Los Angeles Angels for the final out of a Major League Baseball regular season game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim in Anaheim, California. (Yonhap)


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